THE church has given its support to a Ugandan mother-of-two who is seeking asylum in the North-East.

The Right Reverend Mark Watts Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, attended a show of support in Darlington for Elizabeth Kiwunga and her two children, while the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Tom Wright, told her story to the Durham's Miners' Gala.

Ms Kiwunga, who has been detained by immigration officers, has been denied asylum twice, despite her supporters' claims they have evidence she was tortured in her homeland of Uganda.

She was due to be removed on Sunday, but has been given a two-week reprieve because her two children - one of whom is just 14-weeks old - have not had medication to protect them from malaria.

Her supporters, who include an MEP, a councillor and an MP, say the evidence of torture and rape has not been properly considered and hope the reprieve will give them enough to time to prove the claims.

They also say Ms Kiwunga's children were removed from her and put into separate vehicles when immigration officers swooped on her home at 7.15am on Wednesday.

Bishop Watts Bryant spoke to a 50-strong gathering of Ms Kiwunga's supporters in Darlington market square on Saturday evening.

"This is about the sort of society of which we want to be a part. We have to ask ourselves, and we have to ask other people to ask themselves, if we want to be part of a society which forcibly removes 14-week-old babies from their mothers at 7.30am," Bishop Watts Bryant said.

"This sort of treatment is most definitely wrong."

Steven Hughes, Labour MEP for the North-East urged supporters to write to Liam Byrne, Minister for Borders and Immigration, and ask him to let Ms Kiwunga stay.

"I am ashamed to stand here and say a Labour minister who could have put a stop to it didn't put a stop to it," he said.

"Elizabeth's children have never been to Uganda. What they are proposing to do is absolutely unacceptable.

"It is disgusting and inhumane."

A spokeswoman for the UK Border Agency said removals were always carried out in the most sensitive way possible.

"We only seek to remove families who are in the UK unlawfully when all appeal rights are exhausted and they have no further claim to remain in the UK," she said.

"We only return those who the independent courts have found do not need international protection and can return safely."